Part 4: Family/Student Support (3a InTASC)

You will write this piece of your advocacy action plan as a recommendation to your administration or school grade level team to support family/community collaboration to meet student learning needs. If you work in an educational setting outside of a school, please adjust the audience of your piece accordingly (you might write this for a manager or supervisor instead of principal).

Reflecting on the resources and community supports that you identified during the course readings and activities, identify three effective ways to involve or include families in your students’ learning experiences. Address how these will provide opportunities for family engagement that may not be typically present in your school/educational setting (do not just report on what currently exists in the school site). Be sure that these are approaches that foster collaboration with families and can or would be supported by your school/educational site.

Part 5: Identifying Your Role as an Educational Advocate for Students

Throughout this course, you have developed a set of skills that deepens your understanding about your students and their lives and the impact that your teaching has on their experiences. What are you going to do with this knowledge? Educators are advocates for their students by default—you can choose to be proactive with this knowledge and work in areas/issues that are particularly meaningful for you. What role do you choose to take? How do you intend to advocate for your students? Identify at least two ways that you believe you can be a voice for your students and discuss how you envision yourself taking on this role.

This course includes this assignment as a critical assessment documenting your learning on the national standards described below. For information on the critical assessment policy, please review the course syllabus. Be sure to review the rubric for the assignment.

InTASC Standards
Standard #3: Learning Environments
The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

  • 3(a) The teacher collaborates with learners, families, and colleagues to build a safe, positive learning climate of openness, mutual respect, support, and inquiry.
  • 3(l) The teacher understands how learner diversity can affect communication and knows how to communicate effectively in differing environments.
  • 3(o) The teacher values the role of learners in promoting each other’s learning and recognizes the importance of peer relationship in establishing a climate of learning.

Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice
The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and action on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.

  • 9(e) The teacher reflects on his/her personal biases and accesses resources to deepen his/her own understanding of cultural, ethnic, gender, and learning differences to build stronger relationships and create more relevant learning experiences.
  • 9(i) The teacher understands how personal identity, worldview, and prior experience affect perceptions and expectations, and recognizes how they may bias behaviors and interactions with others.

Putting It All Together

For the past four weeks, you have been immersed in the different aspects of a community of learners. You have explored what it means to treat others equally and what it means to create equitable classrooms where equality is not necessarily the goal. You have explored issues of poverty, race, culture and ethnicity, learning needs, and the roles of families as participants in students’ learning as well as the school community.

You have read many examples of how school districts, administrators, and teachers have worked together to ensure excellence through equity in their contexts. You have read about the exciting parts of that work and the many, many challenges that arose in their pursuit of such excellence. Throughout this work, you heard the voices of the individuals who had to make the personal and professional commitments to value equity work, to believe in their students’ capacities to meet the goals they set for them, and to commit their time and energy to the relentless pursuit of a worthwhile but complex goal.

This week, it is your turn to put together your own plan to be an advocate for students. You will reflect on what you value and what you are willing to put your voice, actions, and efforts behind to ensure you are advocating for your students and all they need to learn. As you engage in this work, you will consider the interwoven nature of equity work and reflect on the entire body of learning you have done in the last four weeks. This plan is a concrete way for you to put beliefs into words and actions that can push your practice forward. Let’s get going!

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Describe the way issues of equality can impact the learning environment. (3l, 9i)
    • Advocacy Action Plan
  • Accurately perceive themselves as cultural/ethnic people who live and work with students and their families in a culturally and ethnically shaped society, and use that perspective to respond to their students’ needs, strengths, and learning styles. (3l, 9e)
    • Equity Images
    • Advocacy Action Plan
  • Describe how they will create a classroom climate that emphasizes both equity and access for all students. (3o)
    • Advocacy Action Plan
  • Identify aspects of student learning diversity that may impact the learning process and develop strategies for collaborating with students and families as appropriate. (3a)
    • Advocacy Action Plan
  • Structure curriculum and instruction practices so that the classroom community is inclusive. (3a)
    • Equity Images
    • Advocacy Action Plan

Required Studies

The following materials are required studies for this week. Complete these studies at the beginning of the week, and save these materials for future use. Full references for these materials are listed in the Required Course Materials section of the syllabus.

Excellence Through Equity (Blankstein, Noguera, & Kelly, 2016)
  • Chapter 13: A Journey Toward Equity and Excellence for All Students in Chesterfield (Newsome, 2015, pp. 239-258)
  • Chapter 14: Equity Through Expanded Learning Time (Friedman & Traill, 2015, pp. 259-270)
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